Massive new development would transform Dogpatch area

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Lots of office space, hotel rooms, housing — but how’s it going to work without massive new investments in transit?… (more)

Not to speak about the massive amounts of water and power and sewer and trash support this new “city in a city” will require. When exactly is enough enough?

 

Planning Department director to step down

By Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco Planning Department Director John Rahaim will retire from the post after more than a decade in office.

Rahaim, who was appointed to the position in 2008 by then-mayor Gavin Newsom, announced his retirement in a joint statement with Mayor London Breed on Wednesday.

“John oversaw the Department and City through unprecedented times of recession and growth,” said Breed, adding that the department under Rahaim’s leadership “delivered area plans which allowed for new levels of public benefits and much needed housing in transit-rich neighborhoods.”

Rahaim is expected to continue serving until a replacement is found… (more)

We understand Rahaim is frustrated by the large number of entitled properties developers are not building. We could not agree more. The problem with shortages is not solved by entitling more properties as many in Sacramento would have us belive. The problem is that the entitled properties are not being built. They are being traded and held as investments. Perhaps our local authorities will figure out a way to encourage the owners to build or risk losing their entitlements since the Sacramento politicians have failed to fix that problem.

Who needs cars? Aggressive transit plan for Chase Arena discourages driving

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

When Metallica plays at ear-splitting decibels in the soon-to-open Chase Center in September — the arena’s first-ever event — the thousands of concert goers won’t be humming “Enter Sandman” as they drive home to far-flung points across the Bay Area.

Instead, most will be head-banging on Muni, Caltrain, BART and ferries. At least, that’s according to The City’s plan…

Long-time San Francisco Giants fans may remember Muni shuttles that served Candlestick Park. Well, SFMTA is instituting two similar shuttles for Chase Center, one running down Van Ness Avenue from the waterfront and the other running directly from 16th Street BART

(more)

Head-banging takes on new meaning when applied to the new Muni side facing seats. Asses may stay firmly in place, but, heads and shoulders may indeed lunge forward, or sideways, as the vehicle brakes are applied, meaning heads may be jerked into the adjoining seat or head. I am surprised no one thought of this when they designed the seats. The laws of perpetual motion do apply.

After a couple of ventures out, many will take the easiest method to avoid traffic, crowds, and potential head-banging. They will watch the action from their couch. It will be interesting to see how many people take that route, or go the nearest sports bar to drink and cheer or jeer with the fans.

One more thing that concerns everyone is the plan to dig up 16th Street at the time when it is most needed to assure completion of all the other construction projects that are ongoing, and to keep the constant flow of traffic, including the buses and shuttles moving between the Bay and the rest of the city. What will it take to stop work on 16th Street before a reasonable plan is devised to use an alternate route. Only 16th Street and Cesar Chavez cross both 101 and 280. Large numbers of the public are at risk of being cut off if either of those streets are not passable at all times.

How to not build in San Francisco: Maximus and the so-called ‘Monster in the Mission’

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

After several aggravating years and little progress, the aspirational developers of the so-called Monster in the Mission may be putting the ball in your court, city voters.

Late last year, after many moons of strife and harsh invective and dueling rallies and community mobilizations, a major development was erected on the 16th Street BART Plaza.

And there was much rejoicing. For it was a ping-pong table.

People do play. But it’s been raining something fierce of late. Perhaps a few men or women could take shelter beneath this sturdy table. This city is, after all, so lacking in places to stay.

Maximus Real Estate Partners — Rob Rosania, founder and “lead visionary” — would like to build housing on the plaza, an errant smash away from the ping pong table. Quite a lot of housing. But, after dropping some $42 million for this land, and investing years — and plenty more money — wrangling with any and all comers, the 1979 Mission St. project remains an ethereal watercolor… (more)

The Sierra Club and the luxury-housing developer

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

Northern Alameda chapter backs San Leandro project in a sign that the pro-growth forces are trying to take over the environmental group.

Are you a Sierra Club member who lives in Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, Alameda, Piedmont or San Leandro? If so, you fall under the aegis of the club’s Northern Alameda County Group, which is nested within the larger Bay Chapter.

Be aware, then, that the NAC Executive Committee is currently dominated by a pro-growth coterie that’s exploiting the Sierra Club’s cachet to push a pro-development agenda that violates the club’s commitments to affordable housing, neighborhood integrity, and democratic governance.

If you’re a Sierra Club member who lives elsewhere in the Bay Area, you should also be concerned. The growth boosters on the NAC Ex Com include two men who wield considerable influence in the Bay Chapter, Igor Tregub and Andy Katz. Tregub also chairs the chapter Executive Committee. Both he and Katz sit on the Bay Chapter’s Political Committee, which makes the Sierra Club’s endorsements of political candidates and ballot measures. In the Bay Area, where the club claims nearly 60,000 members, and environmental values are widely embraced, Sierra Club endorsements carry a lot of weight. (UPDATE: Tregub tells me he has stepped down from the Political Committee, which only makes advisory recommendations on endorsements.)

This is an alarming trend for the club; already in San Francisco, Yimbys have tried to take over the local chapter (and so far failed). But the pro-development forces know that placing people on the boards of all-volunteer organizations is not that difficult. There’s little doubt that “smart growth” advocates are trying to shift the influential Sierra Club in their direction, locally and nationally(more)

San Francisco RE-ZONED!

SB 50 explained.

The good folks in Sacramento are back at it. They propose replacing our Planning Dept. by virtually eliminating local zoning!

SB 50 would allow buildings up to 8 or 9 stories, anywhere in SF! And virtually no backyard requirement, as well. It’s the return of SB 827 & 828. And developers can then add on the state density bonus for more height and less affordable inclusionary housing.

Yes, there is a housing & jobs crisis. Do you think Sacramento will fix the housing problem by legislation that frees developers without providing money for affordable housing and transportation?

And what about the CASA program and proposed massive regional enterprise?
Speakers Michael Barnes, economist, CASA critic, Albany city council member, and Ozzie Rohm, local housing advocate, will answer your questions and discuss what can be done.

Thursday, Feb 14, 7 to 9 pm
1833 Page Street/Cole Park Branch Library
Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council
Panel to Discuss CASA and SB 50
There will be a panel discussion on CASA and SB 50 at Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council this Thursday, Feb 14th starting at 7:00 pm.  Thanks to Tes, I’ve been asked to be on this panel. I will be sharing this with a knowledgeable activist from the East Bay, Michael Barnes.  He will cover CASA while I’ll go over SB 50.  The meeting is open to public.

Tuesday, Feb 19, 6:45 to 7:30 pm
1125 Fillmore Street Northern Police Station
Panel to Discuss CASA and SB 50
There will also be a panel discussion on the same topic at the next CSFN monthly meeting on Feb 19 starting from 6:45 pm.  The CSFN panel will be hosting Dennis Richards, Rick Hall, and Carlos Bocanegra from La Raza.  This meeting is also open to public… (more)

Slow approval process not only obstacle for city housing goals

By Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Plans for close to 45,000 potential homes are currently approved in San Francisco — the highest number tracked by The City’s Planning Department to date — but many of these projects have yet to break ground.

In an effort to speed up the development of affordable housing, last month Mayor London Breed announced that she plans to introduce a charter amendment for the November ballot that would take away the ability of residents to appeal affordable and teacher housing projects, though details remain unclear.

“No more bureaucracy. No more costly appeals. No more not in my neighborhood. It’s simple: Affordable housing as-of-right because housing affordability is a right,” said Breed.

But public disapproval and The City’s slow approval processes aren’t the only roadblocks to the construction of residential units in San Francisco. While land use entitlements — or approvals of a development plan — in theory should allow developers to proceed to financing and construction, for-profit projects can sometimes languish for years in the post-entitlement phase.

Constraints on financing and a growing trend of flipping entitlements are significant causes for delays, with some sponsors never intending to build. And many approved units are tied up in large, complex projects with slow, phased buildouts that can stretch over decades…(more)

This is a good article that covers some of the most obvious reasons for delays in building, Flipping empty properties is more lucrative than building, and combination of rising costs of financing, labor and and materials costs, has resulted in a slowdown in home sales, forcing more people onto the rental market.

The author fails to mention the shortage of labor that City Hall is largely responsible for. Construction contractors used to fill the PDR and light industrial buildings that were torn down to make room for high paid tech. Those displaced workers are not commuting to work in a city, where traffic and parking are a nightmare when they have plenty to do in their new homes outside the city.